Wednesday, January 25, 2012

sock monkey saturday

note - listen, Rea, there are no real monkeys anywhere in this post. there is a vaguely creepy guy-in-a-sock-monkey suit, but no actual monkeys. i promise.

The American Visionary Arts Museum was sponsoring a class on making sock monkeys and co-worker Lydia asked if i wanted to go.
Even though we all know about my questionable sewing skills, it was a new thing so i said yes. In my mind i imagined 1 or 2 of AVAM's classrooms in their out building with some folks working away diligently to make wee monkeys as an instructor explained the steps.
Man, was i wrong.
What i didn't know is that Sock Monkey Saturday is a THING; i mean, a big thing. The entire top floor of the revamped warehouse was full of tables and tables of people.
Patterns were on the tables and step-by-step directions were being played on various screens around the room. You had to bring your own socks and scissors, but everything else was supplied at stations around the room.

Lydia and i found a table against a wall, went to get needles, thread and stuffing and got started.

We figured out the first few steps, but the directions were woefully lacking. Luckily, "Monkey Helpers" were wandering around to help out. Lydia and i both had to rip some seams and start over, but on the second try everything went fine.
 A family joined us about an hour into the adventure so our table was soon a clutter of monkey guts and string and bits of fabric.
It was so much fun
 The room was full and buzzing with energy of families and friends all working on the same project. It was great to see so many dads sewing away with their kids, as well as lots of teens, 20's, and 30's who were there without kids. It had a fabulous feeling of creativity and community.

There was a huge hanging photo frame where you could have your picture taken with your finished monkey and even a giant sock monkey character walking around.
The time went really fast and by the end of the event Lydia and i had both only finished the body and legs of our respective monkeys.

We agreed to finish them at home and bring them to work on Monday to show each other.
The purple and burgundy striped socks that i was working with were the ones i had worn to the Mars300 concert; i'd bought them intentionally, knowing that i was going to sock monkey saturday and planned on turning them into a concert keepsake.
It really wasn't hard to make the monkey once you understood the pattern, but those knit knee highs took forever to stitch and stuff. One of the volunteer Monkey Helpers had shown us a cool trick to wire the tail, so i was able to give him a jaunty corkscrew.

Once my monkey was really taking shape i added sparkley blue buttons for eyes (like mine, but a little darker). At the concert i bought a keychain with the band's triad symbol on it and turned it into a necklace for my monkey. I also made him a charm bracelet with Mars300 on it (metal stamping with inking). The date of the concert i intended to stitch on like a tattoo, but it looked horrendous, so i redid it with beading.
Finally, i decided to wire his arms and legs so that i could get him to sit upright next to the stereo.

Ta-da! A project, a keepsake and a new thing.
Lydia reported that her monkey took even longer to finish because she was using pink heart tubesocks,
so they just kept stretching as she stuffed it. In the end, hers ended up with the longest limbs i have ever seen, but with the heart shaped accents she added, it really gave him character.

Sock Monkey Saturday has apparently been going on for a decade. I highly suggest that you go next year because it was a hoot and a half!


Rea said...

I >>do<< like your and Lydia's sock mon...mon....sock monkeys.. but the Walking Sock Monkey Man creeps me out as much as Clowns do!

Anonymous said...

monkeys are awesome!
this really looks fun!!!
you do such cool stuff!! :-D

Anonymous said...

Needs even more monkeys!


Suzanne Travis said...

These monkeys ROCK!